Amazon to sell no POD books other than those made with their service.

edited March 2008 in Story Games
Does anyone know the story here? Is this a monetary decision, is it to reduce their own hassle, or are publishers pressuring them?

If your answer is speculation, please say so.

Comments

  • As it happens, I just read this review on StumbleUpon: http://gladsdotter.stumbleupon.com/review/19271316/
  • edited March 2008
    Come again with that link?--nevermind, got it!
  • I've seen several reactions of "the bastards!" 'round the net.

    Apparently outside of the small community of rpg designers, who will sell through IPR or other specialized storefronts anyway, there is a pretty big community of self published, POD authors.

    Basically, amazon is cutting all of them out unless they use amazon's POD service. I have no idea of how they will discern a POD book with ISBN from a mass printed book with ISBN, mind you... :)
  • Renato, if you make small print runs via a POD service, you're good, what this change affects is people who don't have a stock, and who only print a copy when someone makes an order.
  • Understood... I did not even had idea Amazon was selling "true POD" books until today.
  • edited March 2008
    Posted By: renatoramUnderstood... I did not even had idea Amazon was selling "true POD" books until today.
    Amazon has done little to promote its POD services and word of mouth hasn't exactly been blowing up the interweb. Lulu is still top dog and even places like Rapid POD (with its horrible history of customer service) are better known than Amazon is for POD products and services. Frankly, Amazon missed its window of opportunity here and relegated itself to the status of total unknown (with regard to POD services) by failing to make up for its ultra-late entry in the field with organized advertising and promotion. So Amazon isn't going to sell new POD books from other publiahers anymore. Who cares? Who is selling a significant number of their POD books as new product through Amazon now? Who is buying a significant number of POD books through Amazon? My guess is that the answer to all three of these questions, at the current time, is "Nobody". This might change, someday, but that day has not yet come.

    [Edit: Note that people other than Amazon sell actual products through Amazon. This boycott appears to apply to new Amazon sales only, not products offered by third parties through Amazon. Knowing that the typical Amazon warehouse only orders about two to five copies of any new product on average and that this boycott doesn't prevent third party Amazon sellers from offering non-Amazon POD books for sale, I don't see that this is any huge deal.]
  • Frankly, Amazon missed its window of opportunity here and relegated itself to the status of total unknown (with regard to POD services) by failing to make up for its ultra-late entry in the field with organized advertising and promotion.
    I have a friend who for a time worked at a big POD service consisting of four letters. If I remember correctly, Amazon contacted them about two years or so ago, saying "Hi, we'd like to buy your operation!" When they said no, Amazon's response was (essentially) "OK, then fuck you! We'll do POD anyway, and totally bury you in two years."

    It's been two years, and no burying has been done. But it looks like the Amazon Undertaker is just getting his shovel warmed up for Phase One of the burying. It's not going to be nice or pretty, what Amazon will be doing next to ensure they're the top dog.

    -Andy
  • edited March 2008
    Posted By: AndyBut it looks like the Amazon Undertaker is just getting his shovel warmed up for Phase One of the burying. It's not going to be nice or pretty, what Amazon will be doing next to ensure they're the top dog.
    Well, at this point, I think that money is the only thing that Amazon has working for them and money may not be enough to compete head-to-head with existing POD publishers. Services as opposed to products are funny in that regard -- often the first one with their foot in the door will be Top Dog until the day that a new service makes the entire industry obsolete. Assuming that they aren't introducing a true alternative to current POD operations in the form of a new medium or distribution model, the only move that they could make to possibly clench their superiority is forbidding third party sellers to resell non-Amazon POD books.

    I don't see restricting third party sellers as smart move -- most third party sellers don't have the manpower or much incentive to comply with such an order when sites such as eBay pose no such restrictions on third parties. In my estimation,.such a move would be more likely to drive the creation of a new entity that functions like Amazon once did, rather than egender loyalty amongst current Amazon third party sellers or attract new ones. I just can't see any way that such a decision wouldn't blow up in Amazon's face. The one final possibility is that Amazon could introduce a totally original POD medium or distribution model.

    Maybe. . . an e-book distribution model.

    As Amazon is already manufacturing and marketing their own e-book reader (which cost some serious money), I think that this is the most likely possibility. I predict a heavy investment in creating the RPGNow equivalent of non-RPG book distribution with a secondary emphasis on POD. While it won't be direct competition in terms of POD service, the perceived crippling of the Amazon market by refusing to carry any new, non-Amazon, POD products coupled with a multi-million dollar push to move the entire self-publishing market into a different medium might just put Amazon on top of the pile at the end of the day. It's CDs versus audio cassettes for books, baby.

    On one hand, that sucks for people using the current POD model as their primary source of income. OTOH, it migth make books hip again and that's way fucking cool. Of course, this is all pure speculation (albeit speculation based on current economic and societial trends). If I was running Amazon, these are the avenues that I would be exploring.
  • Here is another take on this
    I came across it earlier today
    I for one, do not like how it appears to me
    Even if I am not a publisher, or an author, just a writer
    I dislike the implications and one more slam on the midlists making them even more impossible to survive in

    http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/004597_03272008.html
  • Posted By: jdrakehWho is buying a significant number of POD books through Amazon?
    While it may not be a major avenue in the indie games community, the link earlier in the thread suggests it's a big deal to small press fiction writers.
  • Posted By: jdrakehWho is selling a significant number of their POD books as new product through Amazon now?
    I was sort of wondering that myself. This prompted me to go to amazon and search to see if any POD rpgs I have or will purchase are sold through amazon.

    Not. One.

    It does make me wonder what things are like in other POD markets.
  • Posted By: tadkEven if I am not a publisher, or an author, just a writer
    I dislike the implications and one more slam on the midlists making them even more impossible to survive in
    As a customer, a loyal customer of Amazon, mind you, I find the implications enraging. Now I'm going to have to take my business elsewhere. (And I've never bought a POD from Amazon).
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